Physical Activity Longitudinal Study (PALS)

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The Physical Activity Longitudinal Study (PALS) is the third wave of interviews conducted on a cohort of participants selected from the 1981 Canada Fitness Survey. PALS goals are to

  • better understand the evolution of patterns of involvement in physical activity in the Canadian population over a 20-year period and
  • find out how social and environmental supports are associated with physical activity and the long-term health outcomes of various lifestyle choices.


Subjects. We have asked persons who participated in either the 1981 or the 1988 surveys to participate in the current survey. Their offspring who may not have been old enough to participate in 1981 or 1988 will also be asked to participate. Telephone contact is being made ahead of data collection to confirm the current address of participants.

Topics covered. The PALS investigated participation in physical activity, as well as social and the availability of environmental supports for physical activity involvement. Other lifestyle behaviours and general health and demographic questions were also asked.

Collection method.  Data was collected via self-completed questionnaires. The first wave of data was conducted in 1981 as part of the Canada Fitness Survey. The second wave was conducted in 1988 and is better known as the 1988 Campbell Survey on Well-Being in Canada.  The third phase, which was carried out over an 18-month period spanning late 2002 to early 2004.

Related publications

Herman KM,Hopman WM, Craig CL. Are youth BMI and physical activity associated with better or worse than expected health-related quality of life in adulthood?  The Physical Activity Longitudinal Study. Quality of Life Research [Epub 10.1007/s11136-010-9586-8]

Craig CL, Bauman A, Reger-Nash B. Testing the hierarchy of effects model: ParticipACTION's serial mass communication campaigns on physical activity in Canada. Health Promot Int. 2009 Oct 29. [Epub ahead of print]

Herman KM, Craig CL, Gauvin L, Katzmarzyk PT.Tracking of obesity and physical activity from childhood to adulthood: the Physical Activity Longitudinal Study. Int J Pediatr Obes. 2009;4(4):281-8.

Barnett TA, Gauvin L, Craig CL, Katzmarzyk PT. Distinct trajectories of leisure time physical activity in adults and predictors of trajectory class membership: a 22 year cohort study . Int J Behav NutrPhys Act 2008 Nov 7; 5:57

Mason C, Craig CL, Katzmarzyk PT. Influence of central and extremity circumferences on all-cause mortality in men and women. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Dec;16(12):2690-5. Epub 2008 Oct 16.

Mason C,  Katzmarzyk PT,  Craig CL,  Gauvin L. Mortality and self-rated health in Canada. J Phys Act Health.  2007 Oct; 4(4):423-33.

Barnett TA, Gauvin L, Craig CL, Katzmarzyk PT. Modifying Effects of Sex, Age, and Education on 22-Year Trajectory of Leisure-Time Energy Expenditure in a Canadian Cohort. J Phys Act Health. 2007;4:1-14.

Katzmarzyk P, Craig CL, Gauvin L. Adiposity, physical fitness and incident diabetes: the physical activity longitudinal study. Diabetologia.  2007 Mar;50(3):538-544. Epub 2007 Jan 13.

Mason C, Brien SE, Craig CL, Gauvin L, Katzmarzyk PT. Musculoskeletal fitness and weight gain in Canada. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Jan;39(1):38-43.

Craig CL, Bauman A, Phongsavan PH, Stephens TM, Harris SJ. Jolly, Fit and Fat: Should we be singing the Santa Too Fat Blues? CMAJ. 2006; 175(12):1563-1566

Craig CL, Gauvin L, Cragg SE, Katzmarzyk P, Stephens TM, Russell SJ, Bentz L, & Potvin L. Towards a Social Epidemiological Perspective of Physical Activity and Health: The Aims, Design and Methods of the Physical Activity Longitudinal Study (PALS). J Phys Act Health. 2005;3:272-84

Mortality papers

Katzmarzyk PT, Church TS, Craig CL, Bouchard C. Sitting Time and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41(5):998-1005.

Katzmarzk PT, Craig CL. Independent effects of waist circumference and physical activity on all-cause mortality in Canadian women. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2006 Jun;31(3):271-6.

Katzmarzyk PT, Craig CL. Musculoskeletal fitness and risk of mortality. Med Sci, Sports Exerc 2002;34(5): 740-744.

Katzmarzyk PT, Craig CL, Bouchard C. Adiposity, adipose tissue distribution and mortality rates in the Canada Fitness Survey follow-up study. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002 Aug;26(8):1054-9.

Katzmarzyk PT, Craig CL, Bouchard C. Underweight, overweight and obesity: relationships with mortality in the 13–year follow-up of the Canada Fitness Survey. J. Clin Epid 2001;54:916-920.

Villeneuve PJ, Morrison H, Craig CL, Schaubel DE. Physical activity, physical fitness and the risk of dying. Epidemiology. 1998;9:623-635.